Updated On July 26th to reflect nomination
Following a week of a Republican celebration, and partial unification, the Democrats now get their shot at making headlines. After a rather uneventful week, the Democrats have a real chance at coming out united, and as a unified party ready to tackle the Trump campaign. However that might not be enough. Clinton is vastly unpopular, with her numbers becoming worse. Nothing is being done to truly help this.
Hillary has chosen Tim Kaine as her running mate. Governor of Virginia for 2006-2011, Kaine also served as mayor of Richmond previously, and was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2012. There is no doubt that he has the political experience necessary to fill this role. Furthermore he fits very well in the Clinton campaign. Which means this was not the choice that would have grown the popularity of the ticket. He is a centrist, and will not appeal to the new powerful, populist, more progressive, side of the party. Now, I know the goal might be to attract the white, male, middle-class vote, however that is very much polling in Trumps favor. However he was in support of TPP, but as any good politician did a 180 to get ahead, and that will hurt with those people. Bad trade deals have hurt the white middle class the most, and those people very firmly stood in the Trump or Sanders campaigns. So this will not, in my opinion, work to that advantage. He may be able to win over some Hispanics, but even that is a stretch. To me, the only logical reason to pick Tim Kaine, is to have a completely boring next Vice President, because both of the candidates (from both the democrats and republicans) are honestly boring and just not going to help their main candidate. However, Clinton is probably gambling that it will not be a loss, and as a bonus she didn't need to make concessions to the progressive side.
This past week, thousands of devoted Conservatives come down to Cleveland, Ohio, and participate in the 2016 Republican National Convention. A convention like no other, it was a rather interesting week, and for a poli-geek it was a great week. Here's just a quick recap of what went down.
Monday- Melania Trump
She made a wonderful speech. Well, actually she just restated Michelle Obama's speech, but that is neither here nor there. The point is that this speech did exactly what it was intended. To humanize Trump, show a new softer, kinder side of Donald. That was the goal of this opening night speech, and in many regards it did that. While it did not sway me over at all, and many references are just plain wrong, we did see a pretty well delivered speech.
Tuesday- Gov. Christie, and more family
It was another great night of speeches. Well to a degree. Let's start with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. He decided to turn the republican convention into a jury, and have a court session, without the defendant even being present, or any defense for that matter.
Today, marks the start of the 2016 Republican National Convention. A convention unlike no other. Where a complete outsider will become the Republican nominee for president. An outsider who is loved by few, and disliked by most. We have to question if he should even be here.
Bernie Sanders has endorsed Hillary Clinton, and while there has been a little speculation raised that he was forced to do so, as per DNC rules, and that the campaign lives on, the mass media will not allow that. We have known since the beginning that the establishment does not support Bernie, and will do almost anything to stop this political movement. A movement of the people to take back their country. A movement of positive, progressive ideas, that restored the power to the people. Where does that movement go from here?
Does the movement continue with Hillary Clinton?
Australia just finished their election on July 2nd to elect members to the 45th Parliament of Australia. While the election happened over a week ago, we are just now seeing the final results. Australia has a relatively simple Parliament. The House of Representatives (lower house) is composed of 150 members, electing in single districts, however they are elected with preferential ballots. The Senate (upper house), has 76 senators representing a state or territory, these are elected using STV. Wait ... that already seems complicated, and it is! To make things worse, all of these ballots are counted by hand. This means that counting takes a ridiculously long time. However, this may change, as the country considers switching to e-voting, in order to speed up the results process. And still, at the time of writing this, all votes have not yet been counted. Just over 80% of the vote had been counted, however the pundits have safely predicted who is most likely to win the seat, as the remaining votes are highly unlikely to make a huge difference. So, what are the results? At the time of this writing..
Liberal/National Coalition: 76
This means that we have another right-wing conservative majority government in Australia. However for a week we were in a situation where we really did not know who would win, so finally having a result is much better. What is important though is this does not capture the true change in what happened.
What we saw was a huge swing against the government, a loss of 3.4%, which was nearly exclusively from the Liberal vote. The only members of the coalition to see its first preference vote increase was The Nationals, which gained 0.6%. The opposition Labor party saw an increase of 1.5%, the Greens gained 1.3%. The Palmer United party saw their entire vote collapse, and other minor parties gained 4.2%. We also saw the rise of a new party, especially in South Australia, where the Nick Xenophon Team (NXT) gained 21.3% of the vote in that state alone. That was really there only high support area, having only 1.9% of the nationwide vote. However the effect of this party, especially running on a platform claiming to be different then the other two mainstream parties, is still not fully known. What we do know, is that this party will be hugely influential in this new senate.
A less controlled senate
This was a special election, a double dissolution, which I don't fully understand, however it resulted in the entire senate being up for election at the same time. The government wanted to bring in legislation to restore the ABCC (Australian Building and Construction Commission), however the senate at the time refused to pass it, and through some constitutional measures Prime Minister Turnbull was able to call for both houses to be dissolved. The goal was for more stability in parliament and for them to have the ability to pass necessary legislation. That did not happen.
Where do we go from here
Another 3 years of a Liberal/National right-wing government, however with a renewed opposition ready to make sure the government stays on track. After a devastating loss in the 2013 election, the Labor party has made a real comeback, and Bill Shorten will continue to be an effective opposition leader. Malcolm Turnball has squeaked out enough seats to remain in power, and have a working majority in the house. However, he must be faced with the facts of the vote loss, and the clear mandate giving to the Labor party to save medicare. Secondly, he will also have to battle this new senate, that is really his fault. It was his choice to call for the double dissolution. Finally, all MPs and Senators were giving a mandate to work for the people, and I'm optimistic they will see that through. I just hope they won't have to go back to the polls before the three year mandate is up.
Like many Sanders supporters, I was a little disappointed when he formally endorsed Hilary Clinton. They couldn't be more different, and that is why many people are looking for an alternative. Bernie was the candidate for so many, due to his ideas. Bernie started building a political revolution, to take on the millionaire class, and give the country back to its people. Bernie's campaign was one of economic, political, environmental, and social justice. Taking on Wall Street, and a corrupt political finance system. Saying no to TPP, and yes to good American jobs. Tackling climate change, and providing tuition-free higher education. While in theory, Hilary has now supported many of the progressive ideas, and the Democratic party has the most progressive platform in its history, she is still part of the corporate establishment that the Sanders revolution was so against. Hilary was under FBI investigation, and every fact that she claimed has came back to be a lie. In a typical election season she would not be electable, however this is not a normal election season. Many people will hold their nose, and vote for the establishment, vote for nothing to change, they will vote for Hilary Clinton. However, many will not vote for her, many will never vote for someone who is in support of everything they are against. It is time for an alternative, and we may be seeing that.
Jill Stein and the Green Party